Film Review: New Year’s Eve

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Sam Bathe on 7 Dec 2011

A lot of guys would wince at the thought of 90 minutes in front of a chick flick, but I normally quite enjoy them. Sure, they’re utter drivel, but with story lines so predictable you can outline the entire plot just from looking at the poster, there’s something comforting about what you know is always going to be a happy ending.

A sort of sequel to his 2010 big name compendium Valentine’s Day, stars are back in force for Garry Marshall’s follow up, and another night of romance, in New Year’s Eve.

The story is as you’d expect; a big handful of stars from across the city (New York in this case) see their paths intertwine, as with that big midnight moment on he horizon, whether they’ll find happiness and love as the new year hits appears entirely up in the air.

In amongst the rabble is a party planner (Heigl) who just happens to be running an event where her ex-fiancé (Bon Jovi) is performing, a NYE cynic (Kutcher) who is trapped in an elevator with a passionate singer (Michele), an excitable bike messenger (Efron) attempting to restore a middle-age woman’s (Pfeiffer) faith in the world, a playboy businessman (Duhamel) who wonders whether he should play the romantic or stay single and a sick father (DeNiro) on his death, given up hope on making up with his estranged daughter and instead holding out just to see the Times Square Ball drop one more time.

In each of their own movies, perhaps the various characters might have proved entertaining (a duelling couple both attempting to give birth to New York’s first baby of the new year in particular) but you don’t spend anywhere near enough time with each of them to care about their plight as the countdown to midnight heats up. The relationships themselves are utterly unbelievable too, with mismatch of couples across the board.

The clichéd stock characters don’t have an ounce of individuality between them, but were the narrative a sweet, endearing tale of innocence, affection and redemption then it could have at least started to pull you in. The script, however, is so vapidly shallow, with everything portrayed on a one-note, superficial level.

Though you’re expecting the predictable ending, the finale, and what goes on before it, feels phoney and contrived, while a vulgar mean streak throughout only further puts you off. Zac Efron’s character proved to be fun and Sofía Vergara is very funny, but how Abigail Breslin was caked in make-up was horrible to see. The only other humour is provided by Ludacris’ comically oversized policeman’s uniform, but unless a genius move from wardrobe, it’s wholly unintentional.

Valentine’s Day was nonsense but quite fun, this is just berating. And with the big names (note. not A-Lister s (bar a couple)) unable to save it from an awkward and unconvincing conclusion, you’d be well advised to avoid New Year’s Eve and go have fun on your own terms instead.


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